The Government will take all necessary measures to ensure that the public would be provided with pure drinking water, improving health conditions and the quality of life for vulnerable communities who face problems due to lack of potable water, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
While emphasizing that a healthy future generation was vital to ensure the country's development and progress, the President said that special measures will be taken to safeguard the health of children.
The President was speaking at the launch of a national program to provide safe drinking water to schoolchildren at Rambewa Maha Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura yesterday (April 3).
Marking the first stage of the initiative, the President distributed water purification units to 50 chosen schools in the North Central Province. He also distributed water bowsers which were obtained with the help of JICA to be used in vulnerable at Divisional Secretariat areas.
The President went on to say that he has advised the authorities to check all drinking water wells in the vulnerable areas and also protect water tanks from contamination.
While highlighting kidney and other diseases prevalent especially in the North Central the President said "these have significantly increased during the last several years as a result of contaminated ground water due to use of heavy agrochemicals and fertilizer". "The open economic policies introduced in 1977 had an adverse effect on the growth of plants and animals" the President said adding that these measures had brought on acid rain on the plants contaminating both the ground and water. The President saying so, encouraged the farmers to go back to more traditional agricultural methods and minimize the use of chemicals in the process of farming.
President Rajapaksa describing the new initiative said that all vulnerable schools will be provided with a water purifying unit. "Like we developed the country and ensured freedom and peace to the people, we also assure that we will provide safe and clean drinking water to all," the President added. "We are fully aware of the difficulties people are facing, including the spread of kidney disease due to water problems.
We will take adequate steps to alleviate them" the President said. He went on to say that the Government has provided equal opportunities and facilities for all areas. He said in education too, equitable distribution of resources has been maintained.
While pointing out to the success by a student from Divulwewa, Anuradhapura who won a world event in US recently for new innovations, the President said Sri Lankan children irrespective of wherever they come from were even winning on the world stage now. He said that this is the Government's aim to mould a healthy, morally rich and educated child to take the country to greater heights in the future.
The initiative is jointly organized by the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.
The President on the occasion also opened the new Mahindodaya Technical Laboratory at the School.